Ways and Means Committee Chairman Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Prior to the first major appropriations deadline, no individual income tax cut bill was proposed, signalling the end of the topic for the 2023 session.
The House Ways and Means committee came and went on Tuesday with no introduction of an income tax cut bill.
Representative Trey Lamar told reporters earlier that day that if one was to be presented, it would be this afternoon. Lawmakers face the first large appropriations deadline on Wednesday and with no introduction today it is unlikely to come up again.
After the committee dismissed, Lamar provided additional insight as to why there would be no bill at this time.
“There’s a small group of those in the Republican caucus that don’t want to take it up this year,” said Lamar. “We’ve also been put on notice that the Democrats are going to block vote against it.”
Lamar said he did not personally agree with those against the measure, but did not indicate a reason as to why those in the caucus opposed it. He indicated it could be indicative of the current election year.
If the bill were to come forward it would require a three-fifths vote on the floor. He said he knew of at least 10 to 12 members of the Republican party that were opposed to bringing the measure forward.
“I believe with all my heart that ending the income tax on individuals in Mississippi, what I like to call the tax on work and allowing us to join the nine other states in America that don’t tax work, is the right policy for the future of Mississippi,” said Lamar.
Continued cuts to the state’s income tax have been noted as a priority for the Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, as well as Governor Tate Reeves. Last year, the Legislature voted to pass the largest tax cut in the state’s history by eliminating the four percent and making additional reductions on a revenue trigger basis.
Most recently, Governor Reeves urged lawmakers to completely eliminate the income tax during the 2023 session.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that eliminating the individual income tax would make Mississippi more competitive for not only capitol investment, but also for people,” said Reeves at the annual Hob Nob.
Lamar said the House has voted on at least three separate occasions to eliminate the income tax. They have also voted on measures that would cut the state’s car tag tax and reduce the grocery tax.
When it comes to other potential tax cuts, Lamar said he welcomes any possibilities and is not drawing any “lines in the sand” that they must include income tax cuts. However, eliminating that particular tax is his focus.
If code sections are left open, or a two-thirds vote is achieved, there is potential that tax cuts options could be revived. Governor Reeves could also call a special session to address the issue.
“You know the old additive, sometimes things reappear after they’ve been believed to be dead,” said Lamar. “I’ve seen stranger things happen. Never say never.”